Friday, August 19, 2011

A Post Where I Become Many Peoples' Enemy

Yes, yes, I know I am really going to do it this time.

I'm going to pick on your "friends", and my "friends" also, for I am not exempt in this.

How many friends do you have?  Real friends.  By "real" friends, I mean friends who you spend time with in person.

Now, go to your social networking site, forum, e-mail, blog, whatever you use to connect to people on the internet.  How many friends do you have?

In this day and age of internet, chat rooms, and e-mail, it is so easy to form friendships with anyone.  Those who are introverted often find themselves freed by not having to speak to someone face to face.  Extroverts... Well, they have even more people to talk to now.

With this freedom to talk to billions of people literally around the world, comes big complications.  Think back to the olden days, before internet, before e-mail, before Facebook and Myspace, before chat rooms.  Back to the days when people actually had good friends in person.
Try not to have a heart attack.

How many friends did people have back then?  Probably not as many as you have.  How many could they unerringly trust?  Probably?  Most of them.
So, how many people do you have through the internet?  Fifty?  A hundred and fifty?  More?

Now, how many of those people would you actually trust with sensitive information about yourself?  I would be surprised if you were able to honestly answer half.

So, how do you define friends?  People that you chat with, have a good time with, people that you never have a meaningful conversation with ever?  Or people who you can trust, who you absolutely know you can go to in a hard time, someone who accepts you for who you are, respects you, but still gently urges you to develop in areas that need development?

After all that, please do not think I hate the internet.  I have a blog, for cricket's sake.  If I thought the internet was the worst thing on the planet, I wouldn't have a blog.

The internet is misused, however.  It is used as a crutch for those who feel unable to interact with people in person, and as a way to have a thousand friends for those who love talking to people.

It also gives people a false sense of security.  Chatting with someone is the equivalent of being in a soundproof, windowless room with them.  You can say whatever you want and no one will ever know.  Or so it feels.  But all it takes is for you to say the wrong thing to the wrong person, and all of a sudden, you have a problem.

It has happened before.  Someone thinks they can trust a person.  This person is trusted so much, that you tell them your secrets, struggles... everything.  Then, somehow you irritate or anger that highly trusted friend, and he goes out and starts revealing all the things you told him.  Maybe you don't even need to anger him, maybe he simply does it for the fun of it.

Am I saying to be paranoid about all your internet friends?  No.

Am I saying we should be careful about what we say to our internet friends?  Limit what we tell them to things that we don't mind everyone and anyone knowing?  Yes.

Of course, there are exceptions.  If you have a great friend who moves away and suddenly the only way to communicate with them is through chat, e-mail, messaging, etc., then there would be a degree of change in how you treated them.

To sum it up: Have common sense.  Treat friends in the way you should treat them.  Don't treat an internet friend who you've known for a year the same way you would treat a flesh friend you have known for ten years.  Don't trust the "security" of the internet more than face-to-face relationships, or use it as a guard to avoid cultivating the friendships you need to make with those you can actually meet in person.

Until next time.

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

1 comment:

  1. *pokes*
    Hey, are you not writing this blog anymore?
    I really enjoyed reading your posts...